You know that a country is the smallest country in the world, when its size, in terms of area, barely matches the size of a golf course! Yes, you heard it right – a golf course! Welcome to the Vatican City – the smallest country in the world, not only in terms of area, but also one of the smallest when it comes to population! Ensconced amidst a walled enclave within the city of Rome, Italy, the Vatican City is so small, that you won’t come across even a single street! Hard to imagine, right?
Sitting coy along the west bank of the Tiber River, the Vatican City is officially known as the Vatican City State. It has an approximate area of 110 acres, and a population of roughly 900. Yep, 900. That’s it. This makes the Vatican City the smallest internationally recognised independent state in the world.
History of the Vatican City - the smallest country in the world:
The Vatican City is known to be the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, and the official seat of the pope since 1377. The Vatican City came into existence as an independent state in 1929, with effect of the Lateran Treaty that was signed between the Holy See (papal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome) and Italy. This treaty came forth as a result of years of struggle for power between the political leaders of Italy and the popes, over matters concerning supreme authority in the region. Ultimately the Lateran Treaty was signed, giving the Holy See "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" over the Vatican City.
Attractions in Vatican City - the smallest country in the world
The Vatican City might well be the smallest country in the world, but kid you not, it is home to some of most historically rich attractions and monuments in the world. These iconic attractions include:
St. Peter’s Basilica – the biggest church in the world, and also the spiritual centre for all Roman Catholics of the world.
Sistine Chapel – the famous Sistine chapel is known for its stunning frescoes embellishing the interiors, the remarkable Sistine Chapel, and The Last Judgement, Michelangelo’s iconic masterpiece.
The Vatican Museums - these stunning museums house popular masterpieces of paintings, sculptures, and other artworks collected by the popes over the centuries. These artworks include the likes of legendary artists of all time such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Titian, Giovanni Bellini, Correggio, and Veronese amongst others!
St. Peter’s Square – the famous, stunning St. Peter’s square bordered by two semi-circular colonnades, which apparently symbolize two stretched arms embracing the world, was built and designed by famous sculptor Bernini, between 1656 and 1667. There are about 140 fascinating statues built on the top of the colonnades, depicting martyrs, popes, and other such religious figures.